Michigan Students and Mental Health: Resource Guide


Two years of frustration, disruption and loss have taken their toll on Michigan students, exacerbating a youth mental health crisis that has been building for more than a decade. Michiganders want schools to take action, with educators taking up the challenge. And schools in Michigan have no shortage of funds to devote to solutions.

Yet, it is not known how far this money will go. Student needs are immense, and the pandemic-ridden job market is limiting district efforts to hire additional staff. At stake is the post-pandemic recovery of Michigan’s youngest residents, not just emotionally but academically.

Interested in knowing more? During a discussion on March 16 hosted by Chalkbeat Detroit, the Detroit Free Pressand Michigan Bridgestudents and educators will discuss their ideas for how Michigan should use funding to better support students.

Read on for the Chalkbeat resource guide for event attendees and anyone who wants to better understand how Michigan school districts are responding to the student mental health crisis. To follow our entire event, go hereor scroll to the bottom of this article.

We hope you find these compiled resources useful. Do you have any questions left? Or story ideas for us? Contact [email protected].

What stories should I read about Michigan students and mental health?

  • How COVID money could help Michigan schools deal with a mental health crisis Chalkbeat, March 14, 2022
  • How dogs are helping ease Michigan’s student mental health crisis Chalkbeat, March 14, 2022
  • Mental health crisis: Children at breaking point during COVID Michigan Health Watch, Bridge Michigan, June 30, 2021
  • A fix for child mental health is taking action early, more help. Here are 7 ideas. Michigan Health Watch, Bridge Michigan, July 2, 2021
  • Poll: Michigan should use COVID money first for tutoring and mental health Chalkbeat, January 28, 2022

How are Michigan school districts using COVID funds to better support student mental wellness?

(For more context, read our full story.)

In response to the pandemic, the federal government has poured a record amount into schools – $6 billion in Michigan alone. Chalkbeat, the Detroit Free Press and Bridge Michigan are collaborating to track where the money goes and how it helps students.

To report on how schools are using the money to support student mental health, we analyzed state records showing how districts planned to spend their share.

  • Lansing Public Schools creates mental health programs with TRAILS to Wellness, a school-based program at the University of Michigan. TRAILS offers brief mental health lessons designed to be delivered to whole classes, student wellness surveys, mental health activities for staff, and suicide protocols.
  • In Grand Blanc, a suburb of Flint, the school district plans to hire seven new staff members to work one-on-one with students on social and emotional issues — one for two elementary buildings, one for each middle school and one for high school. Students will be selected to work with new staff based on a mental health assessment or adult referrals.
  • The Kalamazoo District plans to provide 100 teachers with an annual stipend to meet with small groups of students in consultative sessions that will focus on the challenges students face in life.
  • In Grand Rapids, the district plans to cover the cost of additional social workers and therapists.
  • The Detroit Public Schools Community District spend $10 million to contract with five organizations to provide mental health services, including therapy and diagnosis, to 3,700 Detroit students with the most severe mental health needs. The district has expanded its full-time counseling staff in recent years, but demand for their services has become overwhelming during the pandemic.
  • In Battle Creek, the district plans to hire a student support coordinator, an administrator who will help schools develop plans to address serious student mental health issues and work with community agencies to connect students to services. mental health outside of school.
  • In Flint, the city district has contracted a behavioral specialist to address student trauma as classrooms reopen. When classes were virtual, the district hired a social-emotional learning coordinator to work with students in grades 9 through 12 who were learning online during the 2020-2021 school year.
  • In Plainwell, near Kalamazoo, teachers, social workers and other staff are set to revise district curricula to incorporate social-emotional learning into university courses. For example, a math teacher might include instructions on how to manage frustration or work with partners to solve difficult problems.
  • Chatfield School in rural southeast Michigan has hired an outside company to deliver mental health workshops to parents, students and staff.
  • North Huron Schools, a small rural district in eastern Michigan, purchased a therapy dog ​​named Chipper who lives with a teacher and spends his days at school. Teachers can recommend distressed students to spend time with Chipper.

Who are Chalkbeat’s panelists March 16 eventand what resources do they suggest for parents, educators and students?

The panel will include:

  • Moderators: Koby LevinDetroit Chalkbeat and Lily AltavenaDetroit Free Press
  • Thyaba Mymounaa junior at Cousino Senior High School at Warren Consolidated Schools
  • Brittyn Benjamin Kelleya senior at Cass Technical High School
  • Elisabeth KoschmanCEO of TRAILS (Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students)
  • amanda vacationDetroit parent and Director of the Communities Congress Early Childhood Program

Our panelists recommended the following resources:

  • Information on youth resources and student-led healing circles from Detroit Area Youth Uniting Michigan (link).
  • Student Social and Emotional Learning Resources for Parents and Teachers at Dearborn Public Schools (link).
  • TRAILS Programming for School Leaders: Level 1: Universal education and awareness; Level 2: Early intervention for students with symptoms of anxiety and depression; Level 3: Suicide risk management for students in crisis.
  • TRAILS sample lessons for teachers in the classroom. There are 20 lessons spread over four levels: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.
  • For parents and students: A TRAILS Student Video Series which provides insight into students’ coping abilities.

Watch our full event:

This event is the first in a four-part national Chalkbeat series titled COVID and Mental Health, which aims to amplify efforts to better support the well-being of students and school staff during this difficult return year.

Caroline Bauman connects Chalkbeat reporters with our readers as Community Engagement Manager and has previously reported at Chalkbeat Tennessee. Join Caroline at [email protected].

Koby Levin is a reporter for Chalkbeat Detroit, covering K-12 schools and early childhood education. Contact Koby at [email protected].


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